Taner Adu led the way with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Carl Josey had a massive 14 point, 15 rebound double-double. Greg Hernandez finished with 12 points and eight boards, while player-coach Robert Youngblood started himself for the first time since taking the job, and had eight points, five boards and three assists .
Youngblood provided the assist for Hernandez to open the scoring, but the first period proved to be very even, with Leopards’ biggest lead coming with two minutes remaining when Simon Cummings set Tom Martin up for the three pointer to put them 18-15 ahead .
The biggest Hemel lead was also three, and Dru Spinks – a former team-mate of Youngblood at MK Lions – drained from downtown to tie the score at 21 going into the first break .
Williamz Omope – who led Hemel with 14 points – hit a trey to open the second period scoring for the visitors, but Dan Dunscombe restored Leopards’ lead and CArl Josey hit a three-pointer off a Youngblood assists to send Leopards into the locker room with a 39-35 half-time lead .
Youngblood changed his line-up shortly after the start of the second half, with Martin replacing Cummings at the point, and the move worked as a Josey three followed by an Adu jump shot capped a 12-1 run to open the half .
The lead peaked at 19 with 4:26 in the third period remaining when Adu scored again, and despite Hernandez pickup up a technical foul for moaning at himself, the Big Cats went into the final break with a 59-44 lead .
Bola Adeluola hit a pair at the foul line to cut the Leopards lead with the opening score of the fourth period but Josey replied with a score from the Land of Plenty, and Leopards’ lead never dipped into single figures again, with English point guard Martin having arguably his best game for the Leopards since joining in the summer .
Youngblood was able to run his bench for the final minute as Leopards moved up to sixth in the table.
A dominant performance against Reading Rockets saw Leopards make it three straight victories as they won 85-69 at Essex Sports Arena, on Sunday .
The Big Cats now need to beat an already-eliminated Hemel Storm side in their final group game of the National Trophy to progress to a home semi-final against Loughborough Riders .
Captain Sam Newman hit six three pointers as he led his side with 24 points, while Asante Sandiford came off the bench to finish with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes of action . Findlay Wood scored seven points in the first five minutes to get Leopards off to a good start, and ended up with 15 points and four rebounds, while Lee Hodges added 11 points and seven rebounds . Luke Mascall-Wright completed a good weekend with ten points, five rebounds and as many assists as Leopards again shared the ball well to finish with 21 assists . They also comfortably out-rebounded their opponents again, 43-33.
AJ Carr (18) and captain Danny Carter (16) were the only two Rockets in double figures as Leopards led from tip-to-buzzer .
Hodges hit the game’s first three points, and with Wood and Newman both draining from the Land of Plenty the Big Cats rushed into an 18-5 lead before going into the first break 20-8 ahead .
Although Sandiford hit a trey to open the second quarter, Rockets controlled the tempo of the most of the period before a Mascall-Wright triple and a Sandiford jumper sent Leopards into the locker room with a 36-29 lead .
A 9-0 run early in the third period put the hosts up by 13, and Newman hit four triples in the quarter as Leopards outscored Rockets 28-18 to take a commanding 64-47 lead into the final break .
Back-to-back treys from Wood saw that advantage balloon to 24 early in the fourth period, and the Big Cats were never in trouble as they closed out the win .
Essex Leopards’ captain Dougie Bennett buried a jump shot with three seconds remaining to give the Big Cats an 82-80 victory at Liverpool, on Saturday .
The Big Cats had overcome a poor first period to lead 71-62 at the final break but were forced to hold off a furious fight-back from the home side in the fourth quarter before recording their fourth win in six league games .
Bennett led his side with 19 points, while Will Ashby finished with an impressive stat line of 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Thomas Baker’s side . Jamie Hayes made it a treble for Brentwood-based players in Leopards’ top scorers with a 17 point, 12 rebound double-double.
Baker was a happy man after the game: “We can definitely play better than that, but we did what we needed to against a side who are going to challenge for promotion this season.”
Leopards certainly didn’t have luck on their side ,with David Moyo, Jamie Rodwell and Wes Moore all missing the game, and Korry Callum, Caleb Taberner and Jerrel Laine all suffering injuries to go with Kevin Moyo’s damaged ankle which restricted his minutes .
The Big Cats struggled in the first period, going into the opening break trailing 29-21. But they opened the second quarter with a 12-0 run to lead by four .
A timeout by home coach Delme Herriman worked wonders for his side and the home side reeled off 12 straight points to lead 43-36 before Leopards finished the half on a 10-2 run capped by a Callum lay-up to lead 46-45 going into the locker room at half-time .
Kevin Moyo opened the third period scoring and that quarter proved to be Leopards’ best spell of the game as they outscored the hosts 25-17, with Ashby sending them into the final break 71-62 ahead .
The Big Cats quickly got in foul trouble in the fourth period, and three straight baskets from Uche Umweke gave the hosts a 78-77 lead heading into the final 90 second .
Callum hit a bit trey to put the Big Cats back up by two, only to Kaphei Ullet-Waul level with 19 seconds on the clock.
But Bennett’s shot proved to be the winner, and some tough defence following a Liverpool timeout saw the Big Cats seal the win .
2007 – Leopards exit National Cup
Leopards 77 (16,43,61) Worthing Thunder 79 (29,45,60)
Poor foul shooting cost Leopards as their National Cup dreams were ended by league champions Worthing Thunder on Sunday. The Big Cats missed 11 of their 19 fourth period foul shots, including four in the final 20 seconds as they came agonizingly close to ending Thunder’s unbeaten start to the season.
Carl Latham-Henry led the Big Cats with 22 points, while Gareth Laws hit 15 and Sam Salter 13, but the result left Coach Jon Burnell a disappointed man: “All the signs are good for our team, but I’m absolutely gutted about the two point loss. We played pretty well, and we are beginning to get where we need to be if we are going to win games like this. I’m really disappointed, because it was a real chance to win something.”
In common with the previous night’s win at Coventry, the Big Cats had a poor first period, and although a Salter trey gave them a 7-6 lead after three minutes play, a 16-2 run from the visitors put them in control at 22-11 with three minutes of the period remaining. A Laws three-pointer broke the run, but a basket from Cleve Woodfork and a James Mooney trey sent the visitors into the first break with a 29-16 lead.
Latham-Henry started the second period with a pair of baskets to cut the deficit to nine before Matt Collins scored his first points in a Leopards’ vest with a trey. The hosts still trailed by 14 midway through the quarter, but Bright, Latham-Henry and Salter all contributed in a 13-2 run to drag themselves back into the game, and scores from Lee McCarthy and Salter cut the deficit to two at half-time.
Demetrice Scott scored the first four points of the second half to extend Thunder’s lead to six, but five Latham-Henry points in a 9-2 run put Leopards into a 52-51 lead with just over five minutes of the period gone. The rest of the period proved to be a nip-tuck affair, but late treys from Collins and Bright sent Leopards into the final break with a 61-60 lead.
Scott and Dan Midgley put Worthing into a three point lead with the first scores of the fourth period, before Salter leveled things with another score from the Lane of Plenty. A Leigh Greenan basket put Leopards ahead as the midway stage of the period approached, but four points from Midgley and a James Mooney free-throw saw Thunder open a 72-68 lead.
One-from-two foul shooting from both McCarthy and Lathem-Henry halved the deficit before James Brame scored a trey two and half minutes before the end to give Thunder a 75-70 lead. McCarthy scored proved to be game’s final field goal to cut their lead to three, but missed the bonus shot after being fouled by Ryan Marrast.
Laws was fouled while taking a three pointer for the second time in the game, and sunk two of the three foul shots to make the score level the score at 75 before Scott sunk three out of four free-throws after being fouled by Collins and Bright.
As they game went into the final 20 seconds, Bright was fouled by Midgley, but missed both free-throws, and after McCarthy had collected the rebound he was fouled by Okolie Ugbana. However, he emulated Bright by missing both shots, leaving Laws with no choice but to foul Marrast to stop the clock. Incredibly the Canadian/British dual national also missed both shots, and although Latham-Henry managed to get a shot off on the buzzer, it fell short and Leopards’ cup hopes came to an end.
Leopards: C Latham-Henry 22, G Laws 15, S Salter 13, S Bright 9, L McCarthy 8, M Collins 6, L Greenan 2, M Eames 2, L Volskis.